Daily Prompt: Are you being served?

Daily Prompt: Are you being served?

This post has nothing to do with my prompt group.  This is just me on a rant…

All right – I’m gonna pull on your coat a little bit here.  I am going to slip on my curmudgeonly hat and get up on the old soapbox.  You have struck a nerve with today’s prompt.  I have a word to say about customer service.  Two words actually, “The Bank”.

Maybe I am being a little oversensitive but, I am annoyed when I walk into the bank and there is a greeter who rushes over to me and says enthusiastically, “Welcome in!”  Who talks like that anyway?  Other than someone who has been given a script of things they are allowed to say to customers entering the building.  Greeters are for Walmart, not for Wells Fargo. Not for Wachovia. Not for Bank of America.  If you have a greeter then there should be zero wait for a teller.  If you have a greeter it shouldn’t be a young man with an oily fauxhawk and two of his shirt buttons undone.  Just because you are wearing a necktie does not mean you are dressed like a banker.  If the bank has enough money to pay this greeter then they are taking too much of my money in fees (and I don’t have that much money to begin with).

What is wrong with the teller saying hello to me when I get to his/her window (they are going to do so anyway and it seems much more dignified that way)?  But speaking of the teller experience, why do they speak from a script too?  I am really tired of hearing things like, “In order to ensure excellent customer service is there anything else I can do for you today?” Or, “In order to ensure I do things right the first time, we are putting this deposit in your checking account, correct?”

“Yes, that is why I have marked the box on my deposit slip labeled Checking instead of the one labeled Savings.”  I realize that “teller” is not a high power job at the bank but they are the people I interface with each and every time I come in.  They are the face of the bank.  It seems to me that a smart bank would invest their money in the hiring of smart employees with the right attitude and spirit, then train them to be an effective teller. If you are putting an employee in a position where they will be in constant contact with your customers all day every day, you want someone who demonstrates enthusiasm and a positive attitude, someone who could serve you better than a robot, reciting from a script that they have memorized.  And, believe me we customers can recognize the script.  Maybe not the first time we hear it but it won’t take long.

The financial skills that make a good teller can be taught to someone with the incentive and motivation to learn.  Attitude (towards your customers, towards your coworkers, and towards your job) is not something that you can teach.  A young employee who demonstrates individuality, enthusiasm and teamwork is an employee who should be valued.  A valued employee should be nurtured, trained and groomed for advancement.

I don’t blame these young people for behaving like robots at work.  I blame the bank management.  Senior managers who have no enthusiasm for their work develop business strategies that squash individuality and enthusiasm in the rank and file.  Management attitudes are picked up by these young people and for the most part a great manager has a great staff.  An unhappy manager conveys his attitude to his staff and they will be unhappy (and ineffective) as well.  Taking this to the next step an unhappy staff will make unhappy customers and unhappy customers will eventually take their business elsewhere.

I, for one, would rather go into a bank and interface with a representative who is professional, personable, individual, and friendly.  I want to work with someone who has been well trained and is empowered to address my business, my problems, and/or my concerns directly.  I want to work with someone who cares enough about their job and their company to help me quickly, efficiently, and professionally.

What is the turnover rate for bank tellers anyway?  I’ll bet its pretty high.  I’ll bet they could retain staff if they hired for attitude and invested in their hires. It seems to me that banks are hiring for body count and not considering attitude or enthusiasm at all. There needs to be a balance between skills and good attitude at each teller window.  I cringe when I go into the bank these days.  Soon I am going to have to find another bank, a bank that has effective employees, a bank that has effective management.

American business is falling behind and they better get smarter or they will lose.  Talk all you want about corporate power but at the end of the day business is conducted between people.  We need to value and invest in those people.

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